Monday, October 31, 2011

Thanksgiving in Napa Valley

     Thanksgiving is a perfect time to celebrate with a loved one, especially if your family isn't nearby. Christmas is coming and you'll be hearing about all the family milestones very soon. So what better time to take a romantic trip to wine country and unwind.

    Say yes to a relaxing Thanksgiving vacation! World class restaurants, amazing wine, spa services...what better way to give thanks to the one you love?

    The ladies at Meditrina Concierge will arrange as little, or as much of your wine country holiday as you like. Whether you want to stay in and enjoy a private meal together or dine at one of the best restaurants in Napa valley, do you want to book private tastings at exclusive wineries or hire in room spa services? We can make it happen!

  What else is happening in Napa Valley over Thanksgiving? Let us tell you!

Napa Wine Train:
Enjoy a Thanksgiving Lunch or Dinner on the Historic Napa Wine Train

Lunch: 10:50 am-3:00 pm
$99-$139 per person

Dinner: 4:20 pm - 8:30 pm
$99-$139 per person

étoile Restaurant:
Enjoy a romantic Thanksgiving Dinner at one of top rated restaurants in Napa Valley

Seating is from 12:00 pm until 7:30 pm
$75-per person includes a three-course tasting menu paired with Chandon sparkling and still wines

Plus many more restaurants serving up classic Thanksgiving meals!

Get ready for Christmas with:
White Barn Winter Fair-St. Helena: November 25 - 26
The White Barn will hold its Winter Arts Fair to present artwork by a variety of talented local artisans and craftsmen. The event will benefit Arts Council Napa Valley. A special preview night will include wine, a winter soup, dessert and light music for a $15 suggested donation. Wine Reception Benefit / $15 November 26 & 27, 11am-4pm 

Annual Festival of Lights-Yountville:  November 25
Get ready for the holiday season at the Annual Festival of Lights. Enjoy gourmet food & wine, holiday entertainment, carriage rides, late night shopping & a visit with Santa! The whole celebration culminating with the lighting of the town at 5:30 p.m. From 2p.m. - 6 p.m.

Plus many more fun events to get ready for the holiday season!

So why sit at home, when you can give thanks to the one you love with a romantic Thanksgiving Holiday!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Calistoga Wine Tasting: Summers Estate Wines

      Summers Winery is located on Tubbs Lane, north of Calistoga, next door to the Old Faithful Geyser. The day we stopped by they were in the middle of crushing, we were visiting with our scientist friend who was enthralled by the process. 

     Upon arrival our host, Graham, took us out to the crush-pad and explained production to our friend. We sampled some of the Merlot grapes and then headed back inside. (I love the smell of harvest!) Once inside we began our tasting, and enjoyed the view of the surrounding vineyards and Palisades (the range of “mountains” bordering the eastern side of Napa Valley).

Tasting Overview:

The standouts-

2008 Reserve Chardonnay:  This 100% Chardonnay is produced from grapes grown in Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. It is fermented and aged on the lees for ten months, giving it that creamy mouth feel Chardonnay lovers crave. The creamyness was balanced nicely by rich flavors of baked pear, meyer lemon and a hint of allspice.

2008 Estate Charbono: I was looking forward to sampling this rare varietal. Only 80 acres remain in California with nearly half of them planted in Calistoga. The history behind this grape is an interesting one*. This being my first time trying Charbono I had no idea what to look for or expect, but I was pleased with what I found in this dark, inky wine. Aromas of blackberry and earthy chocolate mingled with flavors of blackcurrant, fig and ripe plum. The Charbono was great that day, but the acidity and sticky tannin say it will hold up for a few years in the bottle. 

2007 Petite Syrah: Being one of my favorite varietals, I quite enjoyed the Petite Syrah. Just as I expected it was dense, dark and full of flavor. A complex effusive aroma mingled ripe figs, dried tobacco and damp earth, big ripe flavors of boysenberry, currant and cedar were found in this medium bodied but well balanced wine. 

        After trying the Knights Valley Cabernet we headed out to the courtyard where there were some tables and a bocce court. Our friend (the scientist) was obsessing over the geyser and kept asking Graham.

    “How often does it go off, is it big, is it three times bigger than the flag pole, when was the last time it went off?”

We were all a little over the geyser.....

Grahams reply was-
     “Dude, I am pouring wine here, I’m not on Geyser patrol!”

      With our friend not relenting we decided to head out to the courtyard. It’s a nicely landscaped lawn with tables and chairs flanked by a bocce court on the north side. We played a game while we waited for the much anticipated explosion of water.

    Thankfully for us it erupted pretty quickly, taking on the resemblance of a broken sprinkler head. We headed back to the tasting room, purchased a bottle of Petit Syrah and thanked our host for his hospitality. 

    Summers Winery offers a relaxed, laid back atmosphere; and some really great wines I will certainly be going back for. The tasting fee is $10 per person and they are open 10:00-5:30 most of the year. They also have a “petting vineyard” and a picnic area for guests. 

"Petting Vineyard" at Summers Winery

Summers Estate Wines
1171 Tubbs Lane
Calistoga, CA 94515
Tel: 707-942-5508

It is originally thought that Italian immigrants brought the Charbono grape to the US in the late 1800s under the pseudonym, Barbera.  Similarly, in the 1930s the grape was mistaken for a Pinot Noir and wrongly mixed into bottles by the Parducci winery.  Finally, in the late 1930s Dr Harold Olmo, a UC Davis geneticist, cleared the confusion, establishing that the Barbera was actually the Charbono.  Recently, professor Carole Meredith of UC Davis, determined-through DNA testing-that the Charbono Grape of California is equivalent to the French variety, Corbeau, associated with the Savoie region of France.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Calistoga Wine Tasting: Bennett Lane Winery

      Bennett Lane Winery is a few minutes north of Calistoga on Hwy 128. A little off the beaten path, the winery is easily found once you're in the neighborhood. Priding themselves on being "The friendliest tasting room in the Napa Valley", Bennett Lane is open to the public seven days a week.

     The tasting room is newly remolded and excitedly decorated, your senses will certainly be awakened by the time you sample the first wine. As we bellied up the marble bar we were greeted by our host, hailing from Healdsburg, he was very knowledgeable and answered all of our questions.

Tasting Overview:

 2009 Maximus White Feasting Wine: A blend of 87 % Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Chardonnay and 2% Muscat, it offered crisp clean flavors. Passion fruit and sweetsop were followed by hints of green apple and citrus. It’s the perfect front porch wine.

2007 Reserve Chardonnay:  Made using 30% Malolactic Fermentation it offered just the right amount of butter. I found it to be fruit forward and fairly well balanced.

2006 Maxiums: A red blend consisting of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Syrah, and 5% Malbec. This wine offered black and red fruit both on the nose and the palate; as well as hints of tobacco and dark chocolate. The acidity and velvety tannin make this wine very food pairable.

2006 Napa Cabernet: Although we tried the 2006 Reserve Cabernet, I took this one home. Both wines offered complexity, balance and bold flavors. I just enjoyed the tannin on the Napa Cabernet a little more; it was a little softer yet carried through until the end. I am looking forward to laying this wine down for a year or two and seeing how it develops as the fruit falls away and the structure changes. Based on the acidity, it’s probably best enjoyed within the next 3 years. 

      All in all it was a nice time. The Bennett Lane experience is a modern one, from the décor to the iPads*, this isn’t your grandfathers wine tasting. (They even have their own racing team.) 

Private tours and tasting offered by appointment
Bennett Lane 
3340 State Highway 128
Calistoga, California 94515
(707) 942-6684 

* Ever wonder where the name iPod and iPad came from?
The name iPod was proposed by Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter, who (with others) was called by Apple to figure out how to introduce the new player to the public. After Chieco saw a prototype, he thought of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the phrase "Open the pod bay door, Hal!", which refers to the white EVA Pods of the Discovery One spaceship.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Calistoga Wine Tasting: The Adventure Begins!

    Being a Calistoga resident is certainly one of my favorite things in life! World class spas, beautiful hiking trails and amazing restaurants are all a hop, skip or a bike ride away...and so are some amazing wineries. This weekend I was thoroughly impressed by what I found in my own backyard.

     The weekend started out with some lovely libations at my favorite (and only) brewery in town , The Calistoga Inn. They have a killer Oktoberfest on right now; they rotate their beers seasonally so you always have something new to look forward to. This is a great place if your looking for a lively evening or a romantic meal, they have a little something for everyone, and they really are an Inn!

Outside Calistoga Inn on Lincoln Ave

    The night went longer than planned, so the next morning I wasn't exactly in the mood for a day of wine tasting. However, the incentive of one of my favorite BBQ spots had me heading out the door in no time. And a little "Hair of the Dog"* never hurt anyone...right? After I thoroughly enjoyed  one of the amazing Trip Tip Sandwiches at Busters BBQ (mild sauce please) I was rearin' to go! And off we went to our first winery....

Your know your at Busters when you see the smoking grill!

*'The hair of the dog that bit you', is an old wives' tale that the hair of a dog that bites someone could be used as an antidote against the bad effects of the bite. (In relation to the consumption of alcohol I have yet to see positive results.)

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Welcome to Meditrina Concierge

    Thank you for checking out our blog.

  What we do:

    We are your full service hosts to the Napa Valley and beyond. Whether you are a wine country connoisseur, or this is your first trip to the region, planning in advance is the most important step. Why waste hours online reading questionable recommendations, when you can let a professional do the planning for you?

    If you’re looking to have a full itinerary set for a long holiday, or just to spend a day in Napa, Meditrina Concierge will create a trip that fits your individual needs. Sit back, relax and enjoy the wine. All the while knowing the reservations have been made.

   Who we are:

        We are two fun loving ladies who like to play as hard as we work. One being a sailor and the other the daughter of a winemaker; you have your work cut out for you if your hanging out with us! We are extremely detail oriented and we know the valley well. If you're looking to book a trip to the valley let us plan your itinerary for you.

Our Blog:

   Your hosts at Meditrina Concierge have their fingers on the pulse of Napa Valley. Our blog will continually be updated with all of the latest happenings. And who better to find out what's hot in the valley than from the people who live here. Stay in touch to hear about the latest harvest news, restaurant openings, great new wines and hidden gems. -From Calistoga to the Carneros we've got the bases covered.

Our Name:

     Our name comes from the Roman goddess of wine, Meditrina.  She was the deity in charge of wine, longevity and health... so concerned with our well-being that some say the word "medicine" came from her name.

   A celebration called Meditrinalia was held every October 11th in honor of the new vintage. When the season's harvest was in and its first wines were made, the tradition is to mix new wine with old, and gluttonously consume large amounts of wine and pour a little onto the earth for the gods and goddesses.

   Being two lovely ladies who like to have fun we found the name a proper fit to our lifestyle!

 ---So follow us, get tips and live vicariously while we show you Napa Valley.

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